Ban on, fisherfolks get busy overhauling boats
Several mechanised boats are undergoing maintenance and repair works in Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuram districts with the 61-day annual fishing ban in place along the East Coast of the state. Now is the time to get it all done and mechanised boat operators are busy overhauling their boats, sources said.
According to RJ Bosco, treasurer, All Mechanised Boat Owners Association, Thoothukudi, each and every boat owner would incur a minimum expenditure of Rs 1 lakh for berthing, dry docking and painting and a maximum of Rs 5 lakh for overhauling of engine and replacement of bottom trawl nets. Since most of the fishing fleet in Thoothukudi is steel-hulled boats, steel tends to rust quickly and painting cost takes account of basic expenditure. To sustain, fishermen have been engaged in painting and other menial jobs. Among the fleet of 250 boats in Thoothukudi fishing harbour, only 18 are wooden boats, for which expenditure is comparatively less, Bosco told DT Next on Sunday.
P Ajith, owner of four steel-hulled boats, said it would cost a maximum of Rs 10 lakh to resume fishing. Some years ago, banks helped by providing loans to boat owners for executing maintenance works, but now ‘we have to solely rely on money lenders’, he said.
P Jesuraja, president, All Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association, said boats were mostly wooden hull and it incurs costs on carpentry.